Niall Quinn (1985/86-1989/90)
Niall Quinn left Arsenal for Manchester City during March 1990 in a £800,000 deal having failed to maintain a place in the Arsenal first-team on a regular basis throughout the 1989/90 campaign. It was to be the start of a Manchester City career that lasted for six and-a-quarter seasons, 203 league games and 66 league goals. In November 1993, he sustained injuries to the knee ligaments that kept him out of the game for nine months and which also out ruled him out of USA '94 with the Republic of Ireland. He nethertheless made a full recovery for the beginning of the 1994/95 season and stayed at Maine Road until the summer of 1996, when the club had been relegated to the First Division. In the summer of 1995, it was reported he had joined the Portugese side, Sporting Lisbon for £1,800,000 on a two-year contract with the option of a further year. The move was not completed and the striker stayed at Maine Road during the relegation season of 1995/96, which ended with a 2-2 home draw against FA Cup finalists Liverpool. He joined newly promoted Premiership side Sunderland for £1,300,000 where a serious knee injury restricted him to make just 12 league appearances (2 goals) during 1996/97, his second successive relegation season. The 1997/98 season ended with the final of the First Division play-offs, in which Sunderland were defeated by Charlton Athletic on penalties, but Niall had recovered from his injuries to score 14 times in 35 league appearances throughout the campaign. In 1998/99, he helped to steer Sunderland towards the Division One Championship during a record-breaking season where the club earned 105 points from 46 league games. Niall scored 18 goals in 39 league games throughout the campaign and on his return to the Premiership, he netted 14 times in 37 league games to help Sunderland finish in seventh position. Sunderland maintained their high Premiership standards during 2000/01 by finishing in seventh place for the second successive season, but missed out on a European place to Chelsea on the final day of the season following a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, Everton.